Friday recipe: wheat berries and Brussels spouts

February 21, 2014 —

True confession time: While we’ve posted recipes on the Dose of DMU Friday blog that feature wheat berries, I’ve only had them when they were prepared by other people, such as this yummy salad served up by our awesome wellness staff. So awesome are these staff members, in fact, that they gave me a bag of uncooked wheat berries. Which promptly got lost in the back of my cupboard until I embarked upon a major kitchen excavation and rediscovered them.

Photo: Oh My Veggies

Photo: Oh My Veggies

That put me on a recipe search. It appears the sky’s the limit when you want to consume these nutty, unprocessed, high-fiber, good-for-you whole grains. You can sweeten them for breakfast, toss them with a salad or stir-fry, or put them in soups, stews and puddings.

The only trick is that you first have to cook these tough little berries. It takes a while to tenderize them – about an hour on the stove top – so it’s a good idea to make a large batch and keep them in the fridge for adding to your dishes through the week. It’s a bad idea to forget to cover the pot while they’re cooking, as I did; let’s just say my first “go” resulted in a highly chewy recipe that worked my mandibles mightily.

At the same time, though, this recipe was so tasty, I’m going to make it again. I love, love, LOVE Brussels sprouts, and the lemony dressing makes them even more divine. I discovered this tasty concoction on Oh My Veggies, a vegetarian food blog “with a focus on easy recipes made with fresh, seasonal ingredients.” My cup o’ tea!

Lemony wheat berries and Brussels sprouts

  • 1 cup red wheat berries (not “pearled”)
  • 3 cup vegetable broth or water
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup walnut pieces
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine wheat berries and vegetable broth or water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook until tender, about 50 minutes. Check after about 30 minutes of cooking to see whether the pot needs more liquid. When wheat berries are tender, remove them from the heat; set aside.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

While wheat berries are cooking, prepare the Brussels sprouts and toss them with the chopped shallot and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large bowl. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until browned, stirring halfway through cooking time. Remove from oven and stir in walnut pieces (they will toast on the hot baking sheet).

Whisk together lemon juice, zest, remaining oil, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add wheat berries and roasted vegetables; toss to combine, then serve.


Endlessly curious and easily entertained, Barb Dietrich Boose loves being a member of the friendly, fascinating DMU community and its creative communications team. The University's publications director and DMU Magazine editor, Barb is always on the hunt for story ideas, good books and new recipes to try out on her family, such as her surprisingly tasty pork-and-bean bars.

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